Who will work? Education, automation and jobs
Robots — artificial intelligence technology — will take up to 47 percent of U.S. jobs in the next few decades, predicts a White House report released last month. The least educated will be the most vulnerable: Self-driving vehicles are expected to replace 2.2 million to 3.1 million people with driving jobs.
Investing in education could keep the American Dream alive, writes Drew Hanson in Forbes. Retraining displaced workers isn’t enough. he writes. “We must improve secondary education” and create multiple pathways to success.
While high school graduation rates are rising, most graduates aren’t prepared for college and are likely to drop out before earning a degree.
“Some students aren’t as academically inclined, and when we push them into college, we are setting them up for failure,” Hanson writes. “Half of the jobs in the U.S. economy are middle-skill jobs, yet only 44% of the workforce is trained to that level.”
Coping with the Great Displacement should be a “driving priority,” writes Andrew Yang on Quartz. He’s the founder of Venture for America, which aims to create jobs, and the author of Smart People Should Build Things.
We should invest in education, job training, apprenticeships, relocation, entrepreneurship, matching people to opportunities, tax incentives to hire — anything to help make hiring and retaining workers appealing. And then we should assume that, for millions of people, it’s not going to work. Uber is going to get rid of its drivers as soon as it can. Its job isn’t to hire lots of people—its job is to move customers around as efficiently as possible.
Already, 95 million working-age Americans have dropped out in the workforce, writes Yang.
High rates of unemployment are linked to higher rates of substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, depression, and just about every other social ill. Despair, basically. Note the recent spike in drug and opioid overdoses in the US. If you care about communities and our way of life, you care about people having jobs.
But what if that’s not possible for everyone? “We’re going to have to rethink the relationship between work and being able to feed yourself,” Yang writes. “And then figure out how to convey the psychic and social benefits of work in other ways.”
Apprenticeships are increasingly popular, reports City Lab.
High-tech manufacturing workers need high-level education and training, writes Jeffrey Selingo in the New York Times. A high school diploma isn’t nearly enough.